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Searching – A Serial Novelle Chapter 27: “Komma”

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

While Angel was having the ride of his life, Luz was trying to get back from the deep darkness that had crept—no, roared back—into hers. She had never forgotten the pain and humiliation of her adolescence, in fact on some days she could almost taste what the boys had done to her and said to her, and what the girls whispered around her. But she had tried to stuff it down so far into herself that she felt her body always heavy and tired. And now, one of those who had hurt her had come back. He wore a new scar on his face, courtesy of the man she loved.

“I’m glad Angel cut him,” she said out loud, “I wish he would have killed him!” And immediately begin to sob.

Luz had been taught the way of forgiveness. Not just by words at her church, but by the loving actions of her uncle and aunt who had raised her. After her assault, when she had become by turns withdrawn and openly hostile, they had hung in there with her. Even when she ran away, when she came home drunk, when she cursed at them, they still loved her. There were consequences, but there was always more than enough love. When she began to cut herself, they got her help. They never gave up even when she did. She had survived because of that, she had grown. Deep in herself, she felt she should forgive. Deeper still, she didn’t think she could.

For this was something else. This was something meant to kill her soul. The wounding that began in junior high became the wounding that she carried forever. The wounding that made her despise others, and despise herself more. For years, she had blamed herself for what happened. Today, she had been face to face with the wound itself. Who or what could unwind a wounding that deep?

She walked and walked. Cried and cried. She tried to get it out of herself, but no one can do that alone. But where to go? The Migra was watching her uncle’s house. Angel’s house wasn’t safe either. She kept walking and walking as the snow stopped and the city took on an almost heavenly hue. For a moment, she didn’t know where she was. She stopped and looked around at the world gone white. The rage and hatred and shame in her had subsided, and she felt an eerie kind of peace. But where am I, she wondered.

What she didn’t know was that she was back in the swale. The place where Mateo Kelly Hidalgo was born in 1868; the place where his ghost was said to roam. Mateo Kelly Hidalgo, a relative of both her and Angel, perhaps even a direct ancestor.

Luz was standing on 16th Avenue near the Greenway, about a block from the bakery her uncle had owned, a little less than a block from where Angel had been beaten and left for dead. Then someone spoke. She was sure of it. She looked around, up and down the Avenue and up and down 29th. It spoke again. A soft, soothing voice that seemed to be speaking to her. Or maybe it’s speaking in me, she thought. She could feel some word forming inside of her, but it wasn’t her word. Who was talking to her, talking in her? She shivered, and then heard clearly, “komma”.

It was coming from the second house from the corner. A small blue house with white trim, and just a touch of gold on the window frames. There were candles in all the windows, and the sidewalk and steps had been shoveled clean. She walked up to the steps and was about to ring the bell, when an old woman, older than any she had ever seen, opened the door. Her skin was leathery and her hair stone white, but Luz saw in her eyes a light that she had never seen.

“Komma,” the woman said, smiling. “Komma till mi”. And she waved Luz into the living room, where a fire burned in the fireplace, a tea service and ginger cookies sat on a little table, and a small wrinkled man—if he indeed was a man—played on his violin the sweetest song Luz had ever heard.

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